Testing ACTi E97 10MP Camera

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 13, 2014

$200 for a 10MP camera? Too good to be true or the next big thing to stand out from the commoditizing HD market?

After years going sideways, ACTi is pushing hard with an ambitious, broad line of low cost products. Their recent release of the 10MP E97 minidome is perhaps the best example, drawing a lot of attention for its $200 price.

Non proprietary, H.264, 10MP cameras are pretty rare. Arecont has the widest offerings here. And, interestingly, Arecont likes to brag that camera decisions are all about getting the most pixels per dollar. Indeed, if that is the case, this new ACTi blows Arecont away.

The Test

Low cost and higher resolution are clearly two of the biggest needs in surveillance, so we bought an E97 and matched it up against the Arecont 10MP (which we tested here) as well as the Axis M30 1080p (tested here).

Here's what they look like in our test setup (from left to right, ACTi E97, Arecont AV10115, Samsung SNB-5004, and Axis M3005):

Our goal was to determine:

  • Whose 10MP image quality is better - the ACTi or Arecont? Both in day and night scenes
  • How much of a difference did the 10MP ACTi and Arecont do against the 1080p Axis? Both in day and night scenes
  • What type of bandwidth premium did the 10MPs require compared to the 1080p?
  • Overall, what benefit, if any, does a $200 10MP deliver compared to current offerings?

$*** *** * **** ******? *** **** ** ** **** or *** **** *** ***** ** ***** *** **** *** commoditizing ** ******?

***** ***** ***** ********, **** ** ******* **** **** ** ambitious,***** ****** *** **** ********. ***** ****** ******* ** *** **** E97 ******** ** ******* *** **** *******, ******* **** ** ********* *** *** $*** *****.

*** ***********, *.***, **** ******* *** ****** ****. ******* *** the ****** ********* ****. ***, *************, ******* ***** ** **** that ****** ********* *** *** ************ *** **** ****** *** ******. ******, ** **** ** *** ****, **** *** **** blows ******* ****.

The ****

*** **** *** ****** ********** *** ******* *** ** *** biggest ***** ** ************, ** ** ****** ** *** *** matched ** ** ******* *** ******* **** (***** ******** ****) ** **** ** *** **** *** ***** (****** ****).

****'* **** **** **** **** ** *** **** ***** (**** left ** *****, **** ***, ******* *******, ******* ***-****, *** Axis *****):

*** **** *** ** *********:

  • ***** **** ***** ******* ** ****** - *** **** ** Arecont? **** ** *** *** ***** ******
  • *** **** ** * ********** *** *** **** **** *** Arecont ** ******* *** ***** ****? **** ** *** *** night ******
  • **** **** ** ********* ******* *** *** ***** ******* ******** to *** *****?
  • *******, **** *******, ** ***, **** * $*** **** ******* compared ** ******* *********?

[***************]

Key ********

**** *** *** *** ******** **** *** ****:

  • *********** ** **** ***** ** ****** ***** (~**' ** ******, ~60' ********** ***) ******** ****** **** *** ** ** ******* AV10115, **** **** ******* ** ******* *** *****.
  • **** ***** *********** ** ****** ***** (~**' ** ******, ~***' HFOV) ********** **** ***** **** ******* *******, **** ***** **** less *******, *** ** ****** ***** ******** *** **** *******.
  • *** ***** *********** ****** **** ******* *******, **** ********* ********, but ** ******* ********.
  • *********** ****** **** ******* *****, ******* ** ** ********* *********** the ****** ** *******.
  • ********* *********** ******** ***** **** ******* ******* ** **** ***** (though **** ****** ** *** *****, ***** *** ******* ******** an *********** ***** *****).
  • *********, ******** ** ***** *******, ** *** **** ***** ****, was ** ******* *** *** **** **** ******, * ******* increase.
  • *** ********* ** *** ***** **** ** (****** ******* ***********) to ** ** ******, *********** ******** *******. **** ******** ** matter ***** ********* ****** *** ****, *** ** ***.

*******

***************

*** *** ****** ******** ********** ** ****, ****** *** ****** of ****, ********** ****** **** ******* *** **** ***** ***** than *********** **** *******. *******, ** ****** ******, **** ******* is ****, ******** *** ********** *** **************. ** *** ***** is * *** *******, ***** ***** ** ****** *** ***** 1080p ********** ** *****, ** **** ********* ** ********, ** most, ***** *** ***. ************, ** ******** *** * ******** increase ** ******* *****, ***** *** ~** ******* ********* ***********.

*************, **** ** ********* ***** **** ******* ** **** **** include ********** ** *** ********* ******, ***** *** ** * better ****** *** ***** ******* * ************ ****** **** ****** resolution *** ****** *** ***** ***********.

Factory ***** ******

** ***** *********** ***** ****** **** *** *** *** ** the ***, ******* ****** **** ** ***** ***-******* **** *** factory. ********** *** ** ************ ** ********** * ******* **** and ****** ******* *** *** ****, ****** **** ****** **** ~10-15 *******. *** ***** ***** ***** *** *********** ** *********** between ******* ***** *** ********** *** *******:

** ********* ** *********** ***** / ******* ****** ******* ***** rather **** ****** * **** **** *** ****** *** ******* out ** *****.

Physical ********

** **** ***** ** ****** *** ******** **** ****** ** the ****** *** *** ********:

Web ********* ********

**** ***** ******* *** *** ********* ** *** ***:

Video ******* ********

***** *** ***** ***** ** *** **** *** ** *** in **** **** ***** *** **** ****** ** *** ******'* max * ****** *** ******.

Image ***********

** **** *** **** **** *** ** *** ********** **** and ****** ****** ** **** **** *** *** ***** ************. We ****** *** *** ******* ******** *******:

  • *** ******* ******* ** * *********** **** ******.
  • *** **** ******, ** ***** ** **** *********** ******* ***** and **** ****** * ********* **** ***** ** **** (*** vs. ***).
  • *** ***-**** ** * ********** ******* * *** ***** ********* camera.

********** ****

**** ***** ***** *** *** **** ** **** ****:

**** *****

** ****** *** ******* ***** ~**' **** *** ******* ** order ** **** *********** ** ***** *******. ** **** ***** and *** *****, *** **** *** ******** ****, **** **** lines ******* **** *** ******* ******* (**** ** **** * **. line *), *** ******* ******* ** *** *******. 

*** *****

** *** *****, *** *** *** **** ****** *** *** test ***** *** *******, ***** *** ******* **** ******** ** usable *****. *** *** ***** ********* ******* ***-**** ****** *********** all *** ***** ******* ** *** ****.

******

** ***** *** **** ***** ** * ****** ****, ****** us * ***' ********** *** ** ***** ** *** *********** in *********** ** ****** *****.

**** ***** ***** *** *** **** ** **** *****:

**** *****

**** *** ******* ** **** ********, *** ***'* *********** **** behind *** *******, **** **** *** ***** **** ** *** chart ***** *******, ****** ******* ******* *** ******* *** ****. The ***** ** ****** ************ ** *** *** ** **** range.

*** *****

** **** *****, *** *** ** ****** ** ****** *** subject. *** ***** *** ***-**** *** **** **** **** ** detect *** ***** ** **** *****, *** *** *** *******.

*********

** *** *****, ** ****** ***** ********* ****** ** ***** (*** or ***), ********* ****** ******, *** ************ ********* ** *** light (**** ~** ** ~** ***** "****" *******). ***** ** this, ** ***** **** *** ***'* *** ************** ** ******, and *** ** **** ** ****** **** ** ********.

***** *** *******' ******* **********, *** *** ***'* ********* ***** was ***** **** **** *** ******* ******* *** **** ***** in **** *****, ****** ** *** *** ******* *********** ** low *****. *******, ************* *** ******* ** * *** (*** ***'* maximum), *********** ** *** ***** ***** ************* ** ***** .* Mb/s, *** ****** ********* ** *** ****. 

***** ****** **** **** **** ******** ** ********* ** ******* framerates **** ******** ********* ** ****, ** **** **** ****** in **** ****** ******* *****, ** ****.

Test **********

*** ******* **** ****** ***** ******* ********, ****** *** ********, which *** ************ ** */***. *** ********* ******** ******** **** used ** **** ****:

  • **** ***: ***-***-**.**.**-**
  • ******* *******: *****
  • **** *****: *.**.*.*
  • ******* ***-****: *.*********

Comments (17)

Was the same lens used for all 4 cameras?

We use the manufacturer recommended or integrated lenses for each model, for all tests.

No, the lenses are not the same, and it would not even be physically possible to make them all the same.

This test reflects the actual performance of the full camera 'system'.

Thank you for the confirmation. I wanted to know the lens as certain lens on a box type camera will give an edge to it. Glad to see the tests being done but would like to have a color comparison chart as well if possible.

Nice report though I don't see the bandwidth consumption chart really being useful for comparision unless all cameras are doing the same framerate. Ideally maybe do two charts, one with call cameras doing same FPS and another doing their max FPS. But if only one is used I'd prefer one with all cameras at the same FPS.

Hey Luis, fair point. We've updated the report with a second, standardized BW chart.

Such interactive and immediate response between subscribers and members of IPVM staff is what really brings value to the product. :)

Good test guys. I would be curious how the ACTi Superior Low Light System (SLLS) compares to the Samsung Super Light Enhancer, maybe downstream you could do a test of the various Low Light offerings.

What's a model number you are recommending? I am not sure which ACTi cameras are 'SLLS' approved or not.

Multiple units; in E series it includes E94 1.3MP or E95 2MP in the same format as the E97 for instance.

In a Box Cameras, it would be the E23. The secret is anything that says specifically 1.3MP or 2MP are Super Low Light. 1MP/3MP/5MP/10MP are not SLLS.

I received my acti e97 camera today and I also had to focus the camera as it was not done very well from factory. Looks like acti is having some quality control issues.

Duncan, good feedback! We have a discussion on factory focus issues. I am still curious to know how manufacturers focus at the factory. I presume there's has to be a human being manually verifying each one. yes/no?

That is a great question. I will ask how we do it, and report back.

In your test devices picture you are saying : "Here's what they look like in our test setup (from left to right, Axis M3005, Samsung SNB-5004, Arecont 10MP and ACTi 10MP)" ...but you have just 4 cameras . Please check.

We mention 4 cameras (Axis, Samsung, Arecont, ACTi) and then show 4 cameras. Am I missing something here?

It looks like the Axis is on the right side in the pic to me. Shouldn't it read from right to left?

Wow, someone fixed it within 1 second of me posting, now thats service!

I am stuck with 2 E97's, I was able to return 4 plus all the E77's I bought. I have a better picture with my Hikvision 3mp vandal domes at half the price!

The E97 makes a fine paperweight, but don't try to use one as a boat anchor, they float.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 22, 2018
  This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals. Register now. Lots of network training exists...
Hikvision 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (DS-2CD63C2F-IV) on Jun 14, 2018
Hikvision's DS-2CD63C2F-IV is their flagship panoramic camera, with a 12MP imager, 15m integrated IR, smart codec, and more. We tested the 63C2 in...
Introducing Effective PPF (ePPF) - Improving Video Surveillance Designs on Jun 11, 2018
Pixel density (PPF / PPM) is the best metric the industry has to define and project video quality. It allows simple communication of estimated...
Hanwha Low-Cost 4MP Camera Tested (QNV-7010R) on Jun 11, 2018
4MP usage is increasing noticeably, as IPVM 2018 resolution statistics show. And low-cost, fixed focal cameras, are popular for budget...
Powerline Networking For Video Surveillance Advocated By Comtrend on Jun 08, 2018
Powerline networking, using existing electrical wiring, has been around for many years. Indeed, over the years, some video surveillance providers...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jun 07, 2018
H.265 support has improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and more manufacturers...
Hikvision PanoVu 20MP Flexible Camera Tested on Jun 01, 2018
Hikvision has released their first repositionable multi imager cameras with integrated IR included, atypical in competitors. We bought and tested...
Stats: Upgrading Cameras Far More Common Than Replacing Failed Cameras on May 30, 2018
The old saying "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It" does not apply here. New IPVM statistics show that 60% of cameras that are replaced still work but...
Oncam 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested on May 29, 2018
Oncam has made their name since the early 2000s as a fisheye specialist, focusing only on panoramic cameras. To see how this specialist stacks up...
VMS Server Sizing on May 25, 2018
Specifying the right sized PC/server for VMS software is one of the most important yet difficult decisions in IP video surveillance. In the past...

Most Recent Industry Reports

July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 22, 2018
  This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals. Register now. Lots of network training exists...
Installation Hardware for Video Surveillance - Indoor Fasteners on Jun 22, 2018
As part of our Installation for Video Surveillance series, in this note, we cover drywall anchors. A key part of installing security hardware is...
Hikvision ColorVu Integrated Visible Light Cameras Examined on Jun 22, 2018
When it comes to low light, infrared light has become the defacto standard in surveillance. But IR is limited to monochrome images, making colors...
'Secure Channel' OSDP Access Control Examined on Jun 21, 2018
Despite claiming to be better than Wiegand, OSDP's initial releases did not address the lack of encryption between reader and controller, leaving...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...
GDPR / ICO Complaint Filed Against IFSEC Show Facial Recognition on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM has filed a complaint against IFSEC’s parent company UBM based on our concern that the conference violates core GDPR principles on...
IFSEC 2018 Final Show Report on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM attended the IFSEC show for the first time this year. The Chinese took over the show, centered on Hikvision, flanked by Dahua, Huawei and a...
Mobotix Releases 'Move' Into 21st Century on Jun 20, 2018
For years, Mobotix stood resolutely against, well, every other manufacturer, selling it as a virtue: MOBOTIX equipment is designed with no...
Cybersecurity Startup VDOO Disclosing 10 Manufacturer Vulnerabilities Starting With Axis And Foscam on Jun 20, 2018
Cybersecurity startup VDOO has uncovered significant vulnerabilities in Axis cameras along with many others not yet disclosed. In this report, we...
Axis Guardian - Cloud VMS And Alarm Monitoring - Released on Jun 19, 2018
Axis has struggled to deliver a cloud-based managed service video platform. Video service providers have utilized AVHS for over a decade, and have...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact